Jonathan Cecil obituary

Versatile actor and writer often called upon to play toffs and bumbling clerics

The actor Jonathan Cecil, who has died of pneumonia aged 72 after suffering from emphysema, spent much of his career playing upper-class characters. That is hardly surprising since his father was Lord David Cecil, Goldsmiths' professor of English literature at Oxford University, and Jonathan's grandfather was the 4th Marquess of Salisbury. Although often typecast as a comic blueblood, there was infinitely more to Jonathan than that. He excelled in Chekhov and Shakespeare, and four times played Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night, always investing the character with a silvery pathos. In 1998 he had an outstanding season at Shakespeare's Globe, where he appeared in As You Like It and Thomas Middleton's A Mad World, My Masters, in which he played Sir Bounteous Progress – "gazing benignly", as John Gross wrote, "on almost everything, even his own undoing".

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